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Dave ST

IC: S1:E3 "Homecoming"

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Nadya pulled her eyes from the towering, sphincter-tightening Cherokee monster to give Beth and Fisher a put upon frown, a hand planted on a cocked hip. "You guys totally forgot to mention the bitch is huge! Stone skin, super-strength, rapey-finger, that I could deal with that. But she's like, super-sized basketball player tall." She shook her head vehemently and flipped off Spearfinger with a middle finger of her own. "That's it! I'm out - hope you guys don't get killed."

The sleek Romani girl turned tail and ran, giving the two blondes - Rae-Rae and Mercedes - a tiny shake of her head in passing, covertly telling them her flight was a ruse - at least, she hoped they figured out it was a ruse. It totally was a just a ruse, she wasn't really running. Nope! 'Backstab!' she mouthed soundlessly. As Nadya reached the trees, star and moonlight seemed to no longer touch her and she become just another part of the gloom.

Her claw-like knife held low, Nadya circled around through the trees, her shoes not even a whisper on the dirt and pine needles. Skirting the edge of the lake, Nadya slinked towards the Stone Bitch from behind at her right. She didn't need Beth to tell her what to go for. Not like she could ever keep starboard and port - or was it aft? - straight.

But Spearfinger was keeping her right arm close, as though hurt or hiding something. Just like a tourist unconsciously patting where they hid their wallet to make sure it was still there when they saw someone they thought looked unsavory. Whatever it was - even if it was only her damned finger - Nadya wanted it, to take it or stab it if there was a Smaug deal going on.

She just needed to bide her time and wait for the right moment to strike. Let the others engage, distract the bitch, and like a sublime bit of pick-pocketing, she'd slip in unnoticed, and slide her blade in, easy as sin.

Spoiler

Nadya used Phase Cloak, and got the New Moon result, so is essentially invisible. She's waiting for the others to engage Spearfinger, and hopefully that will make her raise up or extend her right arm, giving Nadya a chance to get at whatever she is hiding, or to cut off her damn namesake, if that is all there is.

The Fang of Cloven Shadows ignores Hardness. Doesn't ignore soak, but if her stone hide is acting more like armor, she can cut through it like butter. :D

 

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Briefly, Rachel considers using Fisher as a missile as Beth makes her confused instructions before breaking into song. Then Nadya darts past and disappears  in the woods. It takes a second for what Nadya's winks and gestures meant to dawn on her but once she figured what the dark haired girl was upto. At least she hoped that's what she was upto she knew she had to help her.

Pushing past Fisher Rachel flexed her hands before making fists with them, her sword was still in the cave but really she didn't need it for this.

"Hey littlefinger! Is that the best you got, cause really it was kinda pitiful. No wonder you only go after the little kids." She shouted flexing and challenging the Hag, hopefully drawing it's attention and distracting it for Nadya.

Spoiler

Rachel is showing off to piss the hag off she is prepared to dodge and grab the spearfinger if it comes her way, hopefully

 

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Fisher caught on as well and began directing the group. "Pull back! Form a semi-circle!" It would form an open net of a formation for the group to give multiple distracting feints to keep Spear-Finger guessing until Nadya got her chance to attempt a strike. Comb Tooth lengthened in his hands until it reached full bladed glory. "The cardiac system is located in the joint link just past the aforementioned appendage." he specified, following Beth's trail of hopes for conveying information without the spirit catching on.

"Strike for a critical hit!" Then again, Spear-Finger might only know Cherokee. Or secretly play video games in between murder-eating young kids. The Amatsukami Scion had really wanted the time to make a plan before doing this.

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Austin looked up grimly to their titanspawn foe, and Blustering as much as any of the others, he drew himself up, brandishing Kyma Spestires and barked out a short concise order "Put your hands behind you!"  He'd caught the rudimentary plan that the others seemed to be working on, and used the power of his own legend and voice to create the opening they needed.  The Son of the Poseidon knew he was staring down a foe far more powerful than himself, but he didn't care.  This was a foe they had to defeat, and he knew together, they would.

using Overt Order 

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"Ugh, you guys talk too much!"  Mercedes's shield and sword were in hand.  She totally had the whole Wonder Woman vibe going for her, save that she was a colossal bitch and a blonde.  "Nadya, you are so dead when I get my hands on you, skank!"

She lunged forward blade at the ready and shield prepared to protect her.  Her blade met with the same luck Nina's had just moment's before.  Being a relic of divine origin though the sparks were an explosion of power.  Impressive to behold but ultimately futile.  Her blade skidded along the length of her rocky arm showering the area in spark and making the tell-tale shriek of hardened steel across stone.  Her tenacity was rewarded with a solid kick that gonged into her shield.  The impact sent her flying backwards several feet.  She hit the mud on her back and slid in the slick earth leaving behind a small culvert in her wake.  She was drenched in mud and barely able to stand, although she tried.

Several muddy stomps later she was in Austin's face.  Her jagged head and horn-like chin were as large Austin's entire torso.  She sneered at him, her mouth twisting into a large smile.  Her breath was hot and her granite teeth jagged and crooked.  "Make me."

Once again he was backhanded, sending him flying into a nearby tree.  She stomped her foot, spraying mud and stagnant lake water.  The ground trembled and the soil launched itself in a line like a burrowing cartoon animal directly towards Beth.  Moments before it reached her, a solid battering ram of stone shot up at an angle, slamming into her gut.  She held her abdomen, collapsing to the ground.

She howled and arced her back to the sky.  Her right hand remained close to her, clenched into a fist while she threw her other arm backwards and howled a laugh towards the heavens.  "Tonight I feast on Scion flesh!"

Spoiler

It's about the story right now, not the rolls.

 

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"Dammit," muttered Rachel as she ran toward Beth. Skidding to a stop by the newest scion, spraying mud, she ignored the downed girl and instead grasped the stone outcropping which had just slammed the poor girl.

Straining, arm and back muscles bulging, Rachel ripped the body sized rock from the ground and using the same momentum spun and hurled it like a missile at the hag!

"Eat this bitch!"

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So she understood English. And wasn't being distracted at all. Shit. The only way to get to her heart would mean prying her right hand open or getting her to use the spear finger. The latter option did not appeal as a battle tactic, considering what would happen if someone got hit. Fisher circled, trying to find an opening, before thinking he found the right angle and thrust Comb Tooth forward.

The naginata was on target, getting its point there in the space available in Spear-Finger's doubled over, clenched fist, and the spirit promptly closed it shut. Izanami's son was given enough sense he had miscalculated before being yanked forward off his feet.

Spear-Finger's free fist collided with his head and neck. All went dark. Everyone was given the horrifying sight of Fisher's head slump at an angle that did not naturally occur. Fisher's body fell back...

...but did not loose his footing, jerking up like a zombie. And a nasty crunching sound as ichor pushed bone and cartilage back into its proper places, Fisher's vision blurry and screaming: "Kami, my everything hurts!"

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So. Kind of a shit day, really.

Beth coughed, her eyes watering and a sort of unpleasant numbness spreading over her belly where the rock had hit her. It was a temporary reprieve. There was pain waiting under the shock, already starting to soak through. This wasn't how things were supposed to go.

Fuck, the thing had gone after her! All those guys physically attacking, why go after her too?!

Well, you were mangling her favorite song to shit. Personal irritation? She's an Indian spirit. Must piss her off to hear some white girl taking a dump on her language and...

She broke that line of thought off as she got to her feet. The brass rod in her right hand suddenly extended on each end, becoming a formidable looking staff, with embossed snakes twining around it.

Actually, that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. This isn't an Indian spirit...it's some titanspawn that lived here when the Indians did. She didn't share their culture, she ATE THEM. She doesn't give a shit that white people came in and were assholes to them and marched them all away. She probably laughed her ass off. So seriously then. Why me?

After who knew how many years and translations and retellings, the idea that the song was something the Spearfinger would have sung herself was patently ludicrous. Yet, what else singled her out? She hadn't been the only one telling folks to go for her hand.

Okay, you know what brain? You think about this. I kind of have to do something here, or I'll still be pondering after it cuts everyone to ribbons.

Beth gave Rachel a nod. Spearfinger was tough as balls and strong, but if there was one thing the old myths seemed to agree on it was that she wasn't a lightfoot. Heavy, not super-mobile. Yeah. If you weren't strong enough to break their guard, then kick them in the nuts.

Resisting the urge to shout that she was choosing something, Beth held the staff out towards Spearfinger and said the names her father had taught her. The embossed serpents curling in helixes around that bronze staff animated, undulating hypnotically as they slithered off and down onto the ground. They flowed like water towards the hulking brute and with their serpentine speed coiled around her ankles to try to cinch them together!

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Nayda winced as her friends were being pounded while waiting for the opening she wanted, but the stone bitch wasn't being obliging. Spearfinger was being more tightfisted with her... well fist than a Hamptons trophy wife walking alone through Harlem at night. If she wasn't going to be given a golden opportunity, she'd have to make one and hope she or one of the other Scoobies - gods, even Mercedes - could capitalize on it.

And she could see an opportunity brewing right before her. Rae-Rae's bowling ball of over-compensation had knocked Spearfinger off balance some, if not nearly enough damage a rock that size should have. And now Beth's snakes were tangling up her legs. If we can get her to fall down, Spearfinger better damn have the instincts to stretch out her hands to break her fall.

Spearfinger just needed a good push. Nadya was strong, deceptively so thanks to her ichor, if not as strong as Rachel, and the Stonebitch was big while she was not. But she had listened in math class. Mass times acceleration equaled the Force. And if she wasn't a Jedi and lacked the mass, she'd need some speed. She looked around at what she had at hand to give her a boost besides a pure sprint and then grinned, silver-grey eyes cleaning as a completely insane idea percolated in her mind.

Like a piece of the night itself, Nadya took several swift steps then launched herself in a great pounce... at the branchless lower part of the trunk of a tall pine tree. With preternatural grace, she absorbed the impact on the balls of her feet and redirected herself at a sapling. The svelte scion of Bastet missed hitting the sapling, green tree, but that was all part of the plan. She grabbed the top of the tree in passing in an iron grip and the slender, green tree bent almost double under her momentum.

For a long instant, things were static, her toes just barely touching the ground. Then, with a snap, the Romani girl was catapulted feet first towards the back of Spearfinger with whiplash force. Nadya had to bite down on her tongue to hold in a battlecry of excitement and terror, striving for any extra bit of surprise as she tried to topple the mountain shaped like an old Cherokee Hag, to get her to fall and stretch out that damnable hand.

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Spear Finger staggered several steps as the boulder slammed into her.  It shattered on her invincible hide but did nothing to soften the impact.  She tumbled about in an attempt to regain her footing as Fisher moved in for the kill and she shattered his neck.  Serpents coiled around her ankles and in most venues those participating would have stopped to ponder where giant, power serpents came from, bu for the Scion's of Salem it was just another flavor of weird they would try on later.

The serpents were just the thing they needed to keep her from gaining her footing again just as Nadya slammed into her back feet first.  Regret immediately set in as Nadya realized she'd just dropped kicked a brick wall at fifty miles per hour.  Her body stayed in one piece, but like Fisher, her everything was hurting.  Gracelessly she fell down into the mud and in heat of the moment desperately tried to get back to her feet as well.

Her labor bore fruit, however.  The boulder, the serpents, and now a desperate kick to her back sent Spear Finger sloshing down into the mud and water like a three ton brick.  She screamed in rage as she flailed about in the muck and mire, spraying everyone in a tsunami of mud.  She howled and the deafening roar of thunder exploded into the clearing.  A blast of lightning crackled into the side of her face, chipping away stone.

Eric and Laurie entered the clearing, Donner's gun, Giantbane, was smoldering as the scent of ozone filled the air.  Laurie side stepped, wrapping one foot carefully behind the other as she stepped lightly in the soft grass (as far away from the mud and dirt as she could, you have no idea how expensive her boots were), she held an arrow of light knocked on beautiful golden bow.  When Spear Finger turned her head with an angry snap to glare at Donner she was awarded with an arrow spun from the light of the sun that dug deep into her shoulder.  Then a second and a third.  The arrows and the lightning didn't seem to do anymore than the rest of the attacks, but Spear Finger was visibly nervous, she didn't expect ten Scions facing off against her, she was sorely outnumbered.

The sound of a flute rose up over the cacophony of battle.  It was a little slice of weird that did make everyone momentarily look around in order to find it's source.  Grace smiled wide and muttered "Yesss!" under her breath.  From behind a tree out stepped Dane Summers, stoner, goofball... musician

Spear Finger howled in pain as the calming notes pierced her ears.  She finally opened her hand!  In agony she opened her hands and attempted to cover her ears and then they saw it, there it was, her heart!  It was a beautiful jagged ruby the size of a real human's heart embedded in the palm of her hand that pulsed and thumped from within with a dull reddish-black light.

"I totally did that," Beth protested.  "And who's he anyway?"

"An actual musician," Grace smirked.  "Who can actually carry a tune.  I called him earlier, you had the right idea, I thought he could help you out... but he's late... as usual."  From nothingness, Grace's Jaguar Warrior appeared in wisps of blood scented smoke.  She looked to her companion.  "Let's finish this."  Her Warrior nodded and dashed off into the fray.  Beth made an ugly face in rebuttal.

As she howled the Scion's composed themselves.  They stood tall and resolute as they closed in on their quarry.  Tonight, the dreaded Spear Finger would fall.  Eric held Giantbane aloft and screamed to the heavens, "For Asgard!"

Mercedes, Nadya, Eric, Laurie, Fisher, Rachel, Austin, Beth, Aaron, and Grace... all prepared to en this conflict now.  Their world slowed to an Avengers moment as  they all leapt into the fray...

Spoiler

Finish her.  Make it epic.  She's in pain, but not helpless.

 

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The lilting of Dane's flute was punctuated by a boom of thunder as a bolt of lead and lightning gouged another flake of stone from Stonefinger's cheek. The strains of an energetic cello seamlessly joined the flute as Mercedes and Aaron dashed forward, brandishing sword and shield and spikes of razor-edged obsidian. They couldn't pierce the Cherokee nightmare's stone hide, but they weren't meant to.

With precise slashes with her sword and shoves with her shield, Mercedes strove to keep Spearfinger from finding her footing. A kick made her shield ring like a gong and knocked Mercedes back several yards, her feet sliding in the mud. Aaron took up harassment duties, launching a storm of obsidian spikes. They shattered on Spearfinger's hide, the exploding shards obscuring her vision.

Shaking her arms to get feeling back in them, Mercedes slogged back into the fray. Not to be left out, Wolf began nipping at Spearfinger's heels as Beth's serpents coiled and tightened about her legs. When Spearfinger knocked Aaron clear, arrows on solid light rained now on her, a cool smile on Laurie's face behind her golden bow.

Rumbling drums and a thrumming baseline joined the symphony as Rachel and Eric charged. They played football, they knew how to tackle. They tucked their shoulders and plowed into Spearfinger's hip in a simultaneously blow like meat slapping against a granite counter-top, then rolled with the impact. Spearfinger roared to make their eardrums quake... then teetered over to fall on her back like a felled redwood, kicking up another tsunami wave of mud.

Rachel lunged, wrapping her legs around Spearfinger's arm, the iron gloves, gift of her divine father, prying at wrist and fingers with an unbreakable grip to keep the gleaming ruby of her heart clear. Eric fell upon a leg, using mass and divine might to keep it pinned as Wolf worried at the other. Spearfinger was down, but she was not out.

She heaved up at the shoulders, trying to sit up, when there was the keening wail of a French horn. Beth raced forward her staff extending, lengthening before her. She planted the point into the muck and it caught, launching her into the air in an otherworldly pole vault.

"Yippee ki yay, mother fucker!" Beth yelled in terrified excitement, as her staff retracted to a more wieldly size and she slammed it across Spearfinger's throat. Beth grinned as she wrested a grunt from the big stone bitch, then gulped as she still tried to regain her feet. "Um, help!"

And help arrived! Grace and her Jaguar warrior Cuate pouncing on the far end while the Shieldmaiden Annbjorg backed up Beth. Her staff bowed deeply across Spearfinger's throat, denying her leverage to get up. But she still had an arm free. The massive hand reached over and grabbed Eric by the neck and flung him into a tree - through a tree more like. Then she was groping for Rachel or any of those pinning her neck.

"Oh no you don't, you hag! Just because you're made of granite, you think you can take things for granite? Not today!"

Nadya skimmed into the fray with inhuman grace, the strains of a harp joining the unearthly instruments issuing from Dane's flute. Still sore from slingshotting herself into the bitch, she was already covered in mud, so what was a bit more? Hardly more than a shadow, she slid in low and with surprise, deceptive strength, and superior leverage, laced her fingers around the leg-thick wrist and yanked the arm wide.

"Now, Austin!"

The son of Poseidon came surging out of the freezing water, launched high in the air. His wet trident gleamed under the moonlight, then slammed down into mud to bite into dirt and rock, pinioning Spearfinger's wrist to the ground. She snarled in fury, balling her hand into a fist, but with Austin and Nadya both bracing the trident, she couldn't get free.

Yet.

Rachel was feeling the ache in her arms. Austin and Nadya were being shook like saplings in a hurricane. Everyone on the staff pinning Spearfinger's neck felt like they were riding a bucking bull. Wolf had been flung free from a leg and Eric limped back to take his place. From her red-stained mouth, Spearfinger made threats that would haunt the scions, but they would not relent.

"Now or never, Fisher!" came the exhortation from a multitude of throats.

Fisher's eyes were fixed on the great, pulsing ruby. Spearfinger's heart. It was life. And it was death.

He ran up the bole of a great ash tree that could have been a child of Yggdrasil and along a thick branch that Odin could have hung himself from, his steps swift and sure as a sobbing violin wove a threnody into the symphony. The great crimson heart winked at him, called to him.

And he leapt, Comb-Tooth held overhead in a two-handed grip.

The tip glittered under moonlight.

He struck true.

CRACK!

And shards of crimson ruby like bloody icicles spun lazily through the air...

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The Faculty stormed through the trees with divine speed and agility trying to get to the young Scions before they all met their fate at the hands of the wicked Spear Finger.  They heard the screams, the sounds of battle, and the raised voices and a yelling of the bands communicating and screaming at each other.  Weapons clanged off her hide in loud echoes, trees shook as Scions smashed against them.  Through it all... they ran back into the battle.  The great spirit could bend them, but they refused to break.  Spear Finger howled through the night sky, forcing the senior demigods to a halt.  They caught their breath and dashed off once more, driven by enough Duty that they were able to swallow back the fear.

Everything went silent as the shattering sound of crystalline gemstones sprinkled the air with glimmering crimson stones.  With a sudden surge Spear Finger threw all the Scions off of her in a single seizure.  She flailed about screaming and howling, cursing at them in a tongue they didn't understand.  She lunged up to her feet, clasping her wrist, her injured open palm held out to the sky.  Her gem-like eyes locked on the Scions, she snarled and lunged at Rachel, screaming and howling.

[Rachel - Courage]Rachel didn't move.  Her eyes narrowed and she saw that the farther the Spirit moved, the slower she became.  Each step thundered mud in high waves in all directions.  The hag reached out her hand, to grasp Rachel.  The young Scion only clenched her fists.  Her steps grew heavier, slowing, and then finally she was still, her outstretched hand just inches from Rachel, who stood her ground.  The hag was now a hideous statue, it's hand reaching in one last, desperate attempt to save its self.

Rachel slammed her fists into the statue, shattering her in a single, solid blow and she crumbled to the ground, sinking in the mud.  "For Midgard," she said quietly.

From the treeline Dane smiled, holding the flute out in his open hand.  "Thanks, Dad."  His smile grew more sincere as the ancient instrument broke down into tiny golden motes of sunlight and lazily drifted off on an unfelt breeze, fading into the night.  He slipped away into the darkness, unseen by his peers, leaving them to their celebration.

The faculty dashed onto the battlefield.  Orlanda, Victor, Principle Kane, Mr. Guiler, Sheriff Farrow... and Archimedes.  They skid to a halt in the slick, wet grass.  They stood in stunned silence as the young heroes all shared a smile and a cheer as Austin rose from the waters of the lake with the two missing children.  They clapped and woo'ed and for a moment the two rival bands were at peace.  Archimedes saw only an unstoppable force of grit, will and determination.  He saw gods in the making.  It was crazy to think, but they might just be able to pull it off.

"They did it."  Kane said softly, a sound of confusion in his voice.  "How can it be?"

Orlanda Eliot shared the same look of confusion.  "Years ago... we couldn't even defeat her."

"I'll be damned."  Victor laughed.  "That's my foot ball team right there... strict regiment of exercise and discipline..." They all rolled their eyes and walked off.  "What!?"  He exclaimed.

Sheriff Farrow approached and smiled wide at Austin holding the two young children.  "Well done, kids.  Well done."

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"Yes." Fisher put up a smile though in truth his heart was nowhere near in it. True, the awe and respect from the adult-Scions was staggering, but the victory looked far better than it really had been. It had occurred through a combination of luck and sheer numbers - especially when you added in the non-Scion additions. Sure, one might argue Fisher was being an unnecessary downer, but he had his neck broken.

He probably only recovered from something like that because Izanami's son, and given the face-regrowth in the past, he had a much higher bar that said, 'you must suffer this much to die.' In short, he really really felt they should have had a plan. Rachel, their leader, had jumped the gun - and yes, he got that the kids were in danger, but odds were if Spear-Finger was going to eat the kids, she would have done so well ago.

Fisher did not mention this, because it was a thing to be discussed in private, and not in the hearing of Eric and his thug brigade.

"There's a nest of harpies in the forest. We're going to have to deal with them at some point."

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"Woo!" Beth shouted wryly, pumping her arm and then immediately wincing as the strained muscles in it seemed to spread pain all down her back. How hard had she been pushing down on that staff?

A little harder than her body's design specifications was her educated guess. She scooped the fluted bronze rod up and beckoned the serpents back over.

"Nice job, Jung. Freud. Sweet moves, even if sometimes a you is just a you. Hop on, I have reflected glory to bask in."

The snakes slithered onto the staff and twined around it in helixes...then seemed to freeze into the surface of the metal, becoming one with it. Beth twirled it around and contracted it back into a much smaller and more portable device and tucked it into her belt.

She trotted over to where Fisher was making his report and clapped him chummily on the shoulder.

"Yep, harpies. This is probably also a bad time to say there's at least one more of her around somewhere." Beth nodded at the fallen titan spawn.

"Only bigger. And a dude. But yaaaay kegger and shit. Someone get some punch and I'll spike it..."

Her eyes focused on the faculty and she quickly segued into, "...with wholesome fruit juices and other age-appropriate additives."

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After checking to make sure Wolf was ok and letting him know how good a boy he was, Rachel joined the rest in time to hear Beth talking about the harpies and refreshments.

"You did good Beth. The harpies can wait til tomorrow, their meal ticket is dead, we got the kids which was the important thing, and it will be dark soon." She pauses to give Donner a nod of thanks."I could use a Cheeseburger and some onionrings."

"We all did good." She smiled up at Archi. "So is Beth right? Is there another one out there?"

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Austin  was glad that it ended without anyone getting seriously injured.   When the adults relieved him of the kids, he smiled, They'd hopefully not really remember much of this, he'd rather they not have those kinds of nightmares.   He looked to the others, and nodded once.  "Food and drink sounds good, I'd rather not fight harpies in the dark, We can handle them at first light."

Hearing that there was another titanspawn, he turned to Beth, then looked over at Archi.  "Seriously, another one?   When were we gonna hear about that? When it smashed its way out of the woods into us?"  he wasn't so much angry, just abit wary, He'd not been very effective in his own eyes this go around, and he was really not looking forward to getting the pearl back. 

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Nadya's chest swelled in pride as the divine Faculty celebrated they accomplishment in bringing down Spearfinger, though her nose wrinkled as Coach Fingers claimed them as his team. Besides her father, there had been few enough in her life who had claimed to be proud of her. Not that she needed the approval of others of course. Still, it was nice to have on occasion.

Nadya rolled her eyes as Beth covered her slip up. What was wrong with a drink or a toke now and again? Still sore and already muddy and dirty, the Romani girl surreptitiously began looking around and palming any pieces of Spearfinger's Heart Ruby she could find. Real gemstones or not, broken or not, the could pass as real. And besides, they'd make a great memento of their victory.

"We brought Ladyfinger down, we'll bring down Dudefinger too," Nadya boasted, grudgingly nodding her thanks to Mercedes and Eric. "With a little help. But he and the harpies can wait 'til later." She gave Austin and Rae-Rae a small, two-finger salute. "I like the idea of food and drink too." Nadya scowled down at herself, giving her shirt and short coat a tug. Drying mud cracked as she tried to covertly pocket the crimson shards. Looking at her ratty, encrusted All Stars then at Laurie's sweeeet boots almost made her moan in envy. "After getting cleaned up and changing into some new clothes first. Lotta mud, but hey! No bloodstains!"

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"Spear-Finger does have a counterpart, yes," Mr. Syracuse said, a slight smile forming on his lips.  "But I wouldn't concern yourselves with him tonight.  There are no guarantees in this line of work.  You cold spend all your lives in preparation fro his arrival, and he may never come.  I think Rachel has the right of it, for now perhaps you should all go get cleaned up," he looked to Rachel and coked an eyebrow.  "And dressed... and go revel in your victory.  You've certainly earned it.  Meanwhile, we'll see that these children get back to their families."

"I must admit," said Miss Elliot, her rich accent clinging to her works.  "I'm impressed.  Today, you're truly heroes in my opinion, well done."

"Oh, and Nadya, when you're done trying to secretly spirit shards of the heart away unnoticed... why not bring them to me later this week, along with the 'spear finger'.  I know a guy.  It'll give me the opportunity to introduce you all to how trophies work."  Mr. Syracuse gave her a grin.  "Now, go on... get out of here.  Leave the clean up to us.  You're teenagers, go enjoy your evening."  He shooed them away with a patronly sweep of his hands.

As the young godlings scattered and broke off into 'who was driving who' groups the two children dashed across the wet grass and mud.  The Scions turned at the sound of their little footsteps.  Caked in mud, blood, and bruises the weary teens couldn't help but find a warm reason to smile as they locked their arms around Austin and Rachel and made their rounds through all of their rescuers.  "Thank you," they mumbled through still frightened lips as they dashed back towards the Sheriff.

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Rachel stepped out of the shower wrapped a towel around herself. She had said thank you and good by to Annbjorg before sending her back to Asgard, then she had driven back to the stables with Wolf. after feeding him and letting him out she had retrieved her gym bag and hit the shower that they had spruced up  when they took over the place.

The clothes she had been wearing and had left on the shore had been all but destroyed by being trample on during the fight, so after tossing them she put on her gym shorts, a t-shirt she kept in her bag  and a hoodie. Not glamorous but it will do she thought then she noticed her phone was blinking.

Billy had called her.

Three times.

Homecoming, the kiss, oh crap in all the excitement she had forgotten all the normal non god stuff that was plaguing her life. She let her fingers fly over the key, she didn't trustherself talking over the phone.

*Billy gangs meeting at the drip. If U want Join 830

                                                                          rachel*

Combing back her still wet hair she regarded herself in the mirror. Not very sexy, wonder if I should swing by home and change...no that's just silly.

One last check on Wofl, she filled his water tub and his food bowl again. Then she set a few of his favorite snacks out before locking up and jumping into her trusty mustang and heading to the Drip.

Ten  minutes later she came in the coffee shop/resuraunt and waved at Austin and Nadya who were already there at what had over the last few weeks become their table. After ordering at the counter she went and sat down.

"Hey guys," she said by way of greeting, "Is it just us or are the others coming?"

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The reactions of the two kids made it worth it to Austin, they were what was important in this, they'd stopped her from harming anyone else, together.     He'd cleaned up as best he could, and gone with the others to get food.   When Rachel sat down, he sighed.  "Who knows."  Then he gave her a knowing smile.  "Please tell me you didn't swallow it.."  He was fairly sure in all the commotion she had, or she'd spit it out, and it was going to be a total pain to find.  His Dad would likely be pissed, but they'd saved lives and been heroes.   

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Rachel looked at Austin as she sucked on the straw in her strawberry shake, trying for the life of her to figure out what on earth he was talking about. Her first thought was that it was something pornographic (which made her wonder where her mind was all the sudden) and she was going to slap him. But then the light went off and she remembered!

She smacked her lips as the mouthful of shake went down, "Umm, I don't know, It all happened so fast. I don't remember swallowing. Or spitting it out for that matter."

Nadya was looking back and forth between the two teens not quite sure what she was hearing...

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Nadya almost choked on her mocha-latte that had enough espresso in it to kill a lesser teenager - it had nothing to do with ichor, it had been a typical drink of Nadya's... when she actually ordered and paid for her coffee. Nadya coughed, pounding her own chest to get the coffee down, then stared at Rachel, then Austin, and back again, her silver-grey eyes wide.

"I don't know who I feel worse for," Nadya said, trying for a nonchalant drawl. She pointed at Rachel. "You, that it was so fast." Her finger drifted to Austin. "You, that you were so unremarkable Rae-Rae can't even remember if she spit or swallowed. Or those poor kids we saved that might have witnessed this terrible thing. Guys! There's a time and place for stuff like this!"

The sleek Romani girl shook her head, disappointed in her Bandmates.

~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~

Nadya had affected teenaged disdain and irritation when the kids had clung to/hugged her in thanks, but the sharp-eyed would have noticed pride and satisfaction in the set of her shoulders. She shoot those watching her a scathing glance. "What? This is totally how urchins pick a pocket." She made a show of checking her pockets, which looked absurd in her disheveled and muddy state. But as the kids went to move on, she crouched down to their level and whispered conspiratorially. "If you want to learn how to pick a pocket, look me up and I'll show you a few tricks."

In the face of Mr. Syracuse's teasing grin and vile slander, Nadya turned the full force of her clear innocence on her, glancing up at him through her dark lashes with doleful eyes, shirt clinging to her slender frame with wet and mud. It might have been slightly more believable if she hadn't just catapulted herself at a stone giant from Native American folklore and a fist full of shards said Myth's heart.

"Are you reading my mind, Mr. Syracuse?" Nadya huffed with a grin. "That was my very and only intention. Can't just leave these things laying around, right? I'll make sure to bring them around." Most of them...

~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~

She still ached from the battle, but the hot shower back home had felt wonderful! Her father had taken one look at her as she tromped through the pawnshop and had rolled his eyes in exasperation. Not for getting into mischief - mischief was a great learning experience - but for getting so dirty in the pursuit of mischief.

"You should see the other girl, tătic," Nadya had chirped in passing.

After her shower and in fresh clothes, dark and snug and slamming, Nadya felt halfway human again. Considering one of her parents was a Goddess, feeling half human was a lot better than it sounded. She hummed as she strapped on a pair of rocking ankle-boots - she have to ask Laurie where she got those lovely boots (or find out if they wore comparable sizes) - then drove over to the Drip to meet up with the others.

~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~

"... and here I thought you had a thing for Billy, Rae-Rae, if the grapevine is to believed." Nadya's eyes glittered with amusement, her smile wide. "C'mon, girlfriend, dish. Just us here. And Austin. I don't see Darcy here, so Fisher might be hanging with her, and who knows if Beth is going to show up."

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Rachel immediately regretted the choice of words she had made in answering Austin and when Nadya spoke, her cheeks burned red.

"Nooooo, Nadya it was pearl  it let me breath under water," she hissed at the mischievous little imp, "Austin gave it to me when we went in the water. I had to hold it in my mouth to breath."

She looked back at Austin. "I tucked it into my cheek, cause I didn't have any place to put it when we entered the cave. I'm pretty sure I probably spit it out when she hit me so it might be in the cave. I think I would have noticed if I swallowed it."

She gave him an apologetic look, "If you want we can look for it tomorrow when we go hunting the harpies."

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Austin sighed with mild exasperation, and shook his head at Nadya's comment.  "That's really the first place you go when you hear things isn't it?"   He shrugged, and turned his attention to Rachel.  "We can look for it tomorrow, we'll never find it in the dark.   With any luck it's in the water and I might be able to find it there.  It served its purpose, helping us save the kids."

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Beth went back to school from the cave, every step feeling a little more dazed. It wasn't that she didn't want to shower under her skin turned all red and wrinkly and then get in bed and curl up in her blankets until the world made sense again. It was that she was pretty sure it never would.

It wasn't until she got back onto the campus that she realized how late it was. And she was hungry.

As annoying as it could be sometimes to have a body that constantly made demands and needed at least basic care and all that...there were times when the needs of the body could focus the mind. Beth was hungry. Yeah she'd just gotten down and dirty with something out of Indian fairy tales that could bench press pickup trucks...and yeah it had probably come close to just biting her freaking face off. But none of that mattered. She was hungry.

So Beth headed to the Drip.

By the time she got there, the other shoe was falling. Sure, she'd almost died, but she hadn't. Sure the universe was fucked up, but they'd just found one of the more fucked up parts of it, and wasted it. Sure doing this shit was almost definitely going to get her killed at some point...but was there any better way to die?

Seeing some of the others there was no big shock. Where the fuck else was there to go around here?

Beth ambled over to their table and dropped into an open seat.

"I know it's just the toxic levels of adrenaline in me right now," she said, "But I want like...three burgers. And a chocolate shake with three shots of JD in it."

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Fisher made his way home, feeling at least moderately pleased. Frustration with Rachel's Aesir-ness aside, it was a great accomplishment, and he'd given Eric Donner a notice about what end was up. Not even the prospect of returning to an empty house bothered him. He could practically skip through this shortcut ---

"All right, nerd." Eric Donner stepped out from a large oak tree, glaring harshly. "We're going to have a talk, Fisher."

Fate, it was a great astonishment on my part that you did not bring Eric Donner into existence solely for the purpose of creating misery in my life.

Fisher glared back, annoyed. "You can hold an intelligible conversation? Will wonders never cease?"

"Someone's got a backbone." Eric snorted. "You think just because you're a hotshot Scion now that you can duck out on doing my homework." "Well, yes." Fisher casually observed, "I mean, what are you going to do? Try and beat me up?" The jock cracked his knuckles. "You've got a lot to learn newbie."

Fisher smiled and rolled his shoulders. Really, he had speed, resilience, if not strength. Even in just a fist fight he definitely

 

...stared up from the remains of the right half of the oak tree? He was pretty sure he had bruises all over his body and everything just hurt to move. Smirking infuriatingly, triumphantly, Eric stared down at his erstwhile target of torment. "So, you'll have my literature homework ready by the end of the week?"

"Yes." Fisher spat out. Eric turned and didn't even bother with a goodbye, satisfied that the status of his self-centered world had been restored to quo. Except it hadn't. Fisher wasn't afraid of him any longer. This just represented the unpleasant but pragmatic necessity of keeping Eric from delivering more beatdowns until Fisher was indeed ready to redress the balance. Kamis left and right, above and below, in Heaven and Yomi that time would come.

So he returned home to shower, change clothing and text Darcy about going out to hang and grab a bite.

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On 12/15/2017 at 8:28 PM, Beth said:

Beth ambled over to their table and dropped into an open seat.

"I know it's just the toxic levels of adrenaline in me right now," she said, "But I want like...three burgers. And a chocolate shake with three shots of JD in it."

"I don't think that's on the menu," Laurie quipped amiably, nudging a chair into position with her foot.  She had showered and changed into fresh clothes (along with more practical ballet flats), and seemed in enviably high spirits. "Hopefully, this will help 'take the edge off' in another sense."  As she took a seat, violin case resting across her knees, one of the waitresses approached, weaving her way through the tables with an energetic bounce in her step that only emphasized to all the Scions present how not exhausted from battling an ancient titanspawn she was.  "Hey, guys!  They just put some more muffins in the oven, so I'll run them out with the sandwiches as soon as they're done..."  The pretty redhead paused, a momentary flicker of confusion in her eyes as she mentally compared the size of the order she'd received to the number of people at the table.  "Is there... anything else you guys need?"  A pile of a dozen or so muffins- double chocolate, blueberry, pumpkin, and some less recognizable flavors- each one roughly the size of Eric Donner's fist, appeared as she slowly unloaded her tray. 

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[Fisher and Darcy (Awwww...)]  "Oh, my god, Fisher, what the hell happened to you?"  Darcy approached him swiftly outside The Drip.  Like a concerned... significant other she gripped his cheeks and twisted his head uncomfortably to the side so she could inspect his neck.  The beating Donner had walloped on him had already faded.  What hadn't, however, was the bruising around his neck where it'd been shattered by Spear Finger.  His mother was more than happy to bless him with the power to cheat death, but not so kind as to forget that it was always... well, hovering over his shoulders.  The massive bruise ached, but it didn't hurt to bad.  It spread from his shoulder blades, up to behind his ears, a purplish/blackened sore that he knew would heal in time... normal... mortal time.  And in the meantime the pain in his neck would kill him... thanks mom.  Nothing in Death's court came without a price.  "Jesus, you look like you wrestled Donner and... well, lost."  She scrunched her face.  "Sorry.  Does it hurt?"

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"Very, very much." Fisher admitted, though he blushed at her touch. He was going to have to come up with an explanation. Ironically, Darcy had hit on the thing that did not cause this but wasn't true. Well, that might just provide his answer. "And no, we didn't wrestle but..." Fisher winced. "He did not take well to my growing a spine and trying to cut off his homework supply. Right now I just want to forget about it and relax."

Plus Spear-Finger, of course.

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[Fisher and Darcy (Awwww)] "My god, dude.  Why do you let him do that to you, Fisher?"  Darcy fumed, an aggravated expression crossing her normally sweet, lovely features.  "Tell someone, hell, I'll deal with him tomorrow.  Frickin' asshat, I can't stand that guy."

She attempted to calm down.  "Look, let's just go hang, and forget about it for now.  I swear, everyone is like packed in there like you guys are throwing a party.  Nadya pass a test or something?"

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"Ask her." Fisher couldn't help but stifle the grin. "Well, no, there's a new girl that's joined the group -- at the principal's request, mind you." A necessary addendum unless Darcy get the wrong idea about him. "Thinks Beth could benefit from our company as opposed to less salubrious types. Would you want to subject her to Horace, Eric or Bridgette? This is our welcome party."

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[Fisher & Darcy(Awwww)]  "Oh, cool," the brunette smiled and suddenly she cocked her head and had to ask.  "So, uh, what kind of group is it exactly?  I don't recall getting my invite.  Last year we did everything together and this year you're distant, weird, evasive... and hanging out with people you didn't even talk to last year.  What's going on with you Fisher?"

[Inside The Drip]  Rachel felt a large hand on her shoulder.  Her first instinct was to grasp it, break the wrist and slam it's owner's face into the table.  Then the voice on the rational side of her mind reminded her that the battle was over.  The monster was dead and she could relax.  She ere'd on the side of rational side and looked behind her.  Billy looked down at her and smiled.  "Hey, Rae."  He was cautious... honestly a bit scared too.  He still wasn't sure if they were officially a 'thing' after that kiss she dropped on him this morning, and she had an aggressive personality.  A part of him said risk that greeting kiss... that part of him that enjoyed living won out with giving her a warm smile and an awkward lean in like he was gonna kiss her and decided it might not be the best idea in front of all of the Drip, in case she wasn't into PDA and all that.  He also he decided he should stop thinking so much and say something else.  "Thanks for the invite."

He looked around at the assembled Scions, he knew Darcy was outside talking with Fisher (he gave her a ride) and raised his eye brows.  They didn't look like aliens, that was for sure, then again Rachel beat a man with a tailgate she tore off a pick up truck not long ago, so... there was that.  "Wow, uh, what's with the celebration?  Nadya pass a test or something?"

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"Things." Fisher said, aware how lame it sounded. How to give her some answer without lying - which she could probably sniff out, or something that would endanger her. "Look, during the summer, my mom came back." Which Darcy knew well was after a twelve year gap. "It's given me a lot to think about." Looking to switch the topic, he got the door open. "Ladies first."

She narrowed her eyes and glared at him, pushing her glasses up on the bridge of her nose.  "To be continued, Fisher.  Don't think I didn't see what you did there..."  She nodded at his politeness and the two joined the others within the Drip.

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"Wow, uh, what's with the celebration?  Nadya pass a test or something?"

Beth chuckled and shook her head.

"That's good, but nah. It's for Rae and me. We're getting married." She gave Rachel a sigh and a flutter of lashes. "Crazy how fast these things happen, huh?"

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"You too, Billy boy?" Nadya drawled in victimhood, bits of muffin stuffed in her cheek like a chipmunk so she could talk. "I do pass more tests than I fail, y'know! You all should know that!"

Nadya continued decapitating berry-flavoured muffins, claiming the tops and discarding the bottoms like squat, fallen soldiers. She beamed at Billy as she got up and squeezed herself in next to Beth so Billy could sit next to Rachel. She offered him the seat with a flourish as she gobbled down a blueberry & raspberry muffin top. She flushed it down her throat with a long pull of mocha-latte.

"I won rock, paper, scissors, so I'm officiating. Austin is giving away the brides, and Laurie is taking care of catering." Nadya held up another muffin top and nodded her thanks to Laurie for the bounty she was consuming with gusto, before returning her grin to Billy, a grin that was now conspiratorial. "Do you think you can do double-duty as the ring-bearer and flower-girl?"

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Austin smiled and let out a chuckle at the replies to Billy's inquiry, and nodded.   "They've finally found the person that can put up with all their antics, I couldn't be happier for them."   He took one of the offered muffins and ate it slowly, savoring the taste, and the warmth of fresh muffins.  He was finally starting to relax, surrounded by his band and their friends.   

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As if on cue to Beth's request for a few shots of J.D. there was a sudden gloom that hovered over the air of the table.  The Scions who recognized him saw him first and they grew tense almost immediately.  Rachel's fists clenched, Austin's eyes narrowed, Nadya quickly began planning escape routes.  Despite what they felt, fear in his presence was almost a given.  His shadow carried a certain weight to it and the whole of the table felt heavier.  A small flask was set beside Beth.  It was simple and silver and unassuming in anyway save for the polished golden apple engraving on either side of it.

"Here you are child," Marius said calmly.  "Anything you pour in there will never run out.  You'll have to fill it yourself, however, I'm not one to contribute to the delinquency and all that."

Rachel placed her hands flat on the table and Marius raised on hand.  "Peace, Rachel.  Peace."  He lowered his hand in a motion that encouraged her to be seated and she did so, begrudgingly.  She knew she couldn't start a brawl in here... well, she could start a brawl anywhere, but time and a place n' all that.  "I know we all have quite the sketchy past and didn't really get off on the right foot.  I'm not here tonight to cause trouble, no, I assure you of that."

He reached into his leather coat and everyone tensed once more, ready for anything or everything.  He produced an envelope, simple and white.  Opening it he showed them several golden tickets, or coupon or something, made of thick golden foil.  With grace, he dropped them into the center of the table.  It landed flat with the tickets fanning outward like playing cards.  "I know you think the worst of me, and you've every right to, all things considered.  As a father myself, there are... certain institutions I hold sacred.  I heard what you did this evening, and, simply put, whatever issues we have, for this evening they are squashed.  Take those to Evelynn, here on the waterfront.  She has a small boutique.  With your dance coming up, I... well, take those coupons to her, she'll make sure your night is one to remember."

He placed his fedora on his head and smiled politely.  "No tricks, no gimmicks.  Just one father's appreciation that there are still Heroes like you left in this World.  Until next time."  He tipped his hat.  "Laurie, pleasure to see you again, hope all is well."  He looked to the others.  "Good evening, and best of luck come the end game."

With his departure the odd gloom and darkness seemed to lift and more colors entered their lives.  Billy and Darcy looked at each other, mildly creeped out and now even more intrigued as to what was going on in these teen's personal lives.  "Uh, who was that?"  Billy asked.  "What was he talking about?"

Spoiler

There is one golden coupon for each of the PCs... and oddly enough two extra... (Billy & Darcy)

 

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Beth eyed the coupons, then shrugged and took one.

"That sounds like backstory from where I'm sitting," she said, "But given the whole airy-fairy 'oooo I'm so much cooler than you' thing he had going, I'm gonna guess he was one of those guys. Oh, and I guess he pretty much said he was someone's dad."

She looked at Laurie. "Yours?"

Of the flask he'd set down in front of her there was no trace. Had that even happened?

For her part, Beth had no intention of using that thing on JD. Or, for that matter, on anything that you could just go and buy from a store. A flask that'd pour out any amount of whatever you put in it, used to make your own personal liquor store?

Ugh, talk about thinking small. There were way more interesting things that could be done with something like that.

Delinquency...contributed to. Thanks, dad!

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"No." Fisher snapped, and he turned on Billy and Darcy with alacrity. "And all you two need to know is to stay away from him. If you see him, you run, you run the other way."

"But-" Darcy began, totally confused, but cut off by a pale but set Fisher. "That's all you need to know. Your curiosity is one of the things I love about you," and in his concern Fisher didn't care what he was uttering, "but this is too dangerous for you to poke your neck into."

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Cheeks bulging out, stuffed with muffin tops, Nadya snatched at the golden tickets, offered by an evil fucker or not. She gave Rachel a hurt look when she glowered and banged the table, pulling back her hand with a golden ticket in her fingers. She choked down the muffins in her mouth with a forceful swallow and the help of a large sip of coffee.

"I was only gonna take one," Nadya protested plaintively. "Even if I go to the dance stag, and he's the one giving us the tickets..." Nadya's eye cut towards the door Marius had just left through, "a girl can always use a new dress." She peered at the ticket, looking for any notes or caveats. "I hope the shoes are included."

Beth got a nonplussed glance. Nadya hadn't missed the flask disappearing, if only because she had had the exact same inclination, but being on the other side of the table gave Beth the first opportunity. She hoped the new girl wasn't against sharing, because if what Marius had said was true, that offered a tonne of possibilities for fun and profit.

Nadya rolled her bright grey eyes in exasperation at Fisher. What an idiot. If he didn't want Darcy wondering about who Marius was, he had said just about the most opposite thing he could have. I love your curiosity, so now I not gonna tell you a thing about this totally mysterious stranger who obviously knows us from some prior encounter. Dumbass.

"Dude's a total creeper, but rich. You know how they hate being told no," Nadya... amended blithely with a wave of her hand, the fluorescent lights glinting off the metallic ticket flipping back and forth. "The tickets are just a bride to overlook the fact he's a complete douchebag. Rich people, amiright?"

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